Summary: A sermon for Pentecost Sunday.
“When the Wind Blows”
Acts 2:1-21, 40-41
Before Jesus was taken back up into heaven He told His disciples to “wait” for the gift His Father had promised.
He said, “John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
So, they returned to Jerusalem to the Upper Room where they had been staying.
We are told they “joined together in constant prayer.”
They also cast lots to choose an apostle to replace Judas—Judas the one who had betrayed Jesus.
And they waited expectantly for this gift Jesus had promised.
There is no way they could have known what to expect for they had not experienced it yet.
They trusted and believed something big was going to happen, but what?
Earlier, before Jesus was crucified and resurrected He had said to the disciples that after He is gone God the Father will give them “another Counselor” to be with them forever—the Spirit of truth.
He said that this “Spirit of truth” will live with them and be in them.
And because Christ lives they will live also.
Then He said that “the Counselor, the Holy Spirit” will teach them all things and remind them of everything Jesus told them and that they will have peace.
He also said “the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father will testify” about Him, and you—meaning the disciples—must also testify.
What do you suppose you would have made of that if you had been one of the first disciples?
Whatever they made of it, no matter how little of it they understood, they had come to believe that Jesus could be trusted…
And they only had to wait a little while until, on the Day of Pentecost, which was a Jewish Feast celebrating the first fruits of the harvest—they literally became those first fruits!
“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
They saw what seemed like tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them…” and… “all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.”
This is the same Spirit that hovered over the waters in the beginning of Genesis before God created the heavens and the earth.
It’s the same Spirit God breathed into the clay He used to form the first humans in His image—and thus, bring them to life.
It’s the same Holy Spirit God promised to “pour out” in the last days.
It’s the same Spirit Jesus told Nicodemus about when He said a person must be born again in order to enter the kingdom of God.
“The wind blows wherever it pleases,” Jesus told him, “You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.
So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
And in the beginning of John’s Gospel we are told that everyone who “receives Christ…to those who believe in his name,” He gives “the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a [parent’s] will but born of God.”
“For that which is flesh is flesh.
That which is Spirit is spirit.
You must not be surprised by my saying you must be born again.”
Yes, on the Day of Pentecost, the new Creation began.
The disciples, the first fruits of the Spirit, were born of God.
All things became new.
That frightened band of men and women who had been in hiding in fear of ending up in the same fate as the Crucified Lord, ran out into the streets and told the crowds: “God has made…Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
And when the people heard this they were cut to the heart because the Spirit was blowing and the Truth was being shared.
This is what we celebrate today.
It is the beginning of the Holy Spirit taking up residence in flesh and blood human beings like you and I.
It is the beginning of the Church.
It is the beginning of a new movement—the movement of God—which would, in just a few short years, take the world by storm.
What is it about the Holy Spirit that changes people?
What is it about the Holy Spirit that gives power to the powerless?
What is it about the Holy Spirit transforms hearts and lives in such ways that people the people who receive it become new…become children of God?
I was listening to a speaker a couple weeks ago.
He is a well-respected “Pastor to Pastors” in this area.
And he was telling us that from a young age he suffered from debilitating fear and depression.
When he got a little older he sought out help from a counselor.